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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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fill leader to effect these changes against the most
threatening foreign combinations, and against the
most violent opposition at home.
Such a man was found in the minister., Freiherr
von Stein. He had lived in retirement on his estates
dining the war, and was now summoned to Memei
by the king in October, 1S07, and placed at the head
of affairs. He was only allowed to remain at the
head for one year, but this short period sufficed to
make his ministry memorable. He began to intro-
duce his new measures while in the most difficult
position, and while Scharnhorst, the minister-of-war,
was raising a new army. Politics assumed a more
decisive German tendency, and Stein introduced
changes which may indeed be called a revolution by
constitutional means. The decree of the 9th October,
1807, repealed the laws of vassalage and feudality;
on the 19th November, 1808, a constitution was an-
nounced, and on the 16th December, an edict was
published which re-organized the entire state. At
the same time the cleverest and most appropriate men
were chosen to fill the various offices. Only character
and abilities were required, and the most liberal,, in-
dependent minds were admitted, thus opening the
door to a constant progress.
But political changes alone were not sufficient.
The necessity for purifying the state from below was
also felt, and it was acknowledged that to effect this it
was necessary not only to teach but to educate; to
free the spirit, and awaken the character and indepen-
dence of the young, and thus create worthy citizens
for the state, capable of coping with the future desti-
nies of the nation.
Two things seemed necessary to achieve this. The
Introduction of the Pestalozzian system of elementary
instruction, and the erection of a great, new univer-
sity, in place of the university of Halle, given iip at
the peace.
The more determinedly reforms were planned on
the field of popular instruction, the more it was felt